Over the last couple of years, we have seen many industries change the way they’re working. The most obvious shift has been the remote/hybrid roles introduced across many sectors. So you’re writing an awesome CV ready to submit (or at least trying to! See if we can help HERE) But what about BEFORE you land that job? The way companies are interviewing has also changed. So here are 6 interview tips that we think are key to remember.
1. First impressions count
The “black trousers and a white shirt” standard isn’t necessary. But what you wear will have a huge impact. Regardless of the role you are applying for, interviewers like to see that you take pride in your appearance. There are Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) positions that would still expect smart business wear. This is because they are corporate client-facing roles, so the employer would expect you to dress as you would meeting one of their high-net-worth clients. But the majority of our clients, particularly Fin-Tech clients, prefer smart-casual. This is because many of our mortgage advisor positions are now non-client facing. Don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter about the dress code. If the client has a smart-casual or casual dress code in the office, then you’ll be fine to follow this in your interview. But our advice would be, just ditch the blazer! Trousers, a smart polo; dark jeans, a shirt/blouse, or a dress. When it comes to footwear, just leave the Air Force at home.
2. Personality is key
Interviews are nerve-wracking, we get it! And sometimes we worry too much about saying the wrong thing or saying too much. You’re not just showcasing what skills you have that fit the client’s job spec. You want to show that you’re a good fit for their office, and that you’ll gel well with their team. Our clients understand how important a friendly working environment is, so they’ll be looking for someone who is going to slot right in and enjoy the chat and the laughs whilst getting on with their job. Smile and say “hi” to everyone you pass in the corridor. Rather than just waiting for the next interview question, think of some anecdotes you could fill the space with. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation! They might be your future employer, so you’re going to have to have a chat with them at some point!
3. Everyone has a schedule
Clients understand that a lot of people apply for jobs whilst still in a job, and have to sometimes be sneaky with their time when attending interviews. Don’t worry, they don’t always see this as a “red flag” but often appreciate your time more and see the dedication you have to the position already. But as a candidate, you need to appreciate that they are also on a schedule and have a business to attend to. Being as flexible as you can is important. If the interview you are offered means you’ll only be able to participate in a Zoom call on your phone, sat in your car on your lunch break, then tell the recruiter this. They may be able to come up with something else with the client, or it just gives them a better impression of you beforehand.
4. Research the role
It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised! Researching the company is paramount. Walk around their website. Find out as much as you can about the business. Their mission statement, goals, and ethics. Do they have more than one site? If you can find names of founders or directors, see if you can find anything about them on Google or LinkedIn. This might help with small talk during the interview if there’s any background experience you share. Read through the job description and specifications as thoroughly as you can. Make sure you understand what it is they’re looking for in you. And don’t forget, the recruitment process is a two-way street. You also want to make sure that the company is right for you. You want to see that they can help you achieve and succeed in your career, so you need to do your research!
5. Research yourself!
Whilst interviewers might not directly ask “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” (although they might), it’s beneficial for you to be prepared with answers. We all know that nobody is perfect, so they’re not expecting an all-singing, all-dancing Adonis. They want to see that you have recognised your flaws. If there’s something you’re not particularly confident with, it helps to admit to this! Then they’re not going to expect something you can’t deliver. Google might give you answers but they’ll be answers that an interviewer has heard countless times before! Make notes about what experiences you have, in your professional and personal life, that can be applied to their role. Some interviewers will still ask you the standard, un-original questions like “Give an example of a difficult situation and how you overcame this”. It’s best to be prepared with anecdotal answers, so you’re not left stumbling on the spot.
6. No such thing as a silly question
This is a great way to showcase the research you’ve done! An interviewer might not outright ask “What do you know about us?” leaving you feeling that all your research was a waste of time. Turn your knowledge into questions! If you found the year the business was founded but struggled to find information on why, then just ask. Just be careful! Asking how many employees they have could backfire if this information is on their website. If something comes up that you had a question about, it’s okay to say “That was a question I had”. Then when they ask if you have questions, you can say that yours have been answered without looking like a fibber! Don’t be scared to ask about career progression and what the next step in their recruitment process is. This shows your interest in the position from the start. Also, asking them if they wouldn’t mind sending you some interview feedback via email would show them that you’re looking to better yourself. That’s then their choice as to whether that’s with them, or someone else!
Whilst daunting, job interviews aren’t the scariest thing you’ll ever do in your life. Treat it like a “means to an end”. An hour or two feeling slightly out of your comfort zone, but it could be the beginning of a dreamy and successful career. You may never have to do an interview again! You may find yourself being the interviewer and seeing those nerves sat opposite you! But remember our interview tips and we don’t think you can go far wrong! Or put our interview tips to the test with one of our job positions….